I used to give away email addresses to people but I don’t like the idea of them depending on my continued service for their identity, so I stopped it.
I would not spell it that way. It really depends what you need from an email domain. For example, many people are happy with just one or two email addresses they can use, e.g., for
Gravatar Libravatar and other Web services registration. Some prefer their email branded. Yet some others like to use plenty of email aliases for different purposes (e.g., circumscribe origin of spam to a smaller amount of possibilities, or to have “role” addresses that can point to various email addresses over time…).
In the first case “freedom” would mean freedom from hassle managing email service at all.
In the second case, “freedom” could mean the same, or could mean freedom to control how the email “brand” is managed, while avoiding technical aspects.
In the last case, “freedom” could mean the ability to handle email aliases and nothing more…
There’s also the case where email service is used to send a lot of emails (for legitimate reasons, e.g., mailing lists, or outreach campaigns), which brings yet another kind of issues for the hoster: e.g., if one user on a shared domain, or even on a shared SMTP server starts popping up on RBL too frequently, it quickly becomes hell to manage.
I remember last year when we had a discussion with PYG about email and why Framasoft does not offer that service, he made a very good point about scaling email: an email service is hard to setup for very few accounts, but once it’s setup it’s easy to serve hundreds of accounts, until you reach thousands of accounts and you have to deal with RBL and it quickly becomes a mess. I tend to agree with this analysis.
That said, once SPF, DMARK and DKIM and setup, most of the inconvenience is gone – in part because setting up the D* things can be such a hindrance that the other inconveniences become shallow.
In my case I tend to consider handling email service as a thing of the past I used to do frequently but abandoned about a decade ago, and let Gandi mail do it for me. The downside of Gandi is that they offer no D* support. So I still run an email service for a very specific use-case, that is “eventually connected email” which guarantees my email is not lost after 5 days (per protocol rules) when I’m on the road and disconnected from the Internet – in that case I make use of a networking aberration, tunneling UUCP over SSH, but that works so well I don’t ever have anything to do for it to just work.